The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor reported $1.62 billion in research volume during fiscal year 2020, which led to advancements in areas including COVID-19, driverless vehicle technology, social justice, and carbon neutrality.
The university was able to maintain the same total research volume as fiscal year 2019 despite a ramp down in noncritical laboratory research due to COVID-19. U-M also received 1,918 new research awards between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, the largest being a $31 million federal grant supporting research on the restoration of dental, oral, and craniofacial tissues lost to disease, injury, or congenital disorders.
“Researchers across our three campuses have truly embraced this vision of serving the world through research and scholarship, using their passion and expertise to address critical challenges with broad societal impact,” says Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan collegiate professor of emergency medicine.
“When the pandemic hit, many of our researchers quickly transitioned their work to identify treatments for the virus, improve personal protective equipment, and explore how COVID-19 has exacerbated health inequities within our communities. Beyond this pandemic, the university community will continue to exercise its commitment to catalyzing research and scholarship, developing innovative technologies, and strengthening the economy.”
The federal government remains the largest sponsor of U-M research. During the year, agencies supported 54 percent of the university’s research volume. With $887 million in federally sponsored research over the last fiscal year, U-M researchers led projects that span Great Lakes sustainability and racial health disparities to the arts and humanities.
Researchers generated $576 million in research under contract with the National Institutes of Health, a federal agency that funds 2,497 U-M active projects to address the causes, diagnoses, preventions, and cures of human disease. The university also reported $91 million in annual research expenditures from the National Science Foundation and $77 million from the Department of Defense.
Institutional investment of U-M research totaled $548 million, funding research-related infrastructure projects, multidisciplinary initiatives, and faculty retention efforts. The university also reported $113 million in industry sponsored research, part of which supported a project to enhance energy assistance programs statewide.
U-M research spurred a record 31 startups and 522 inventions. Among those startups is a company that designs and operates networked fleets of autonomous robotic delivery vehicles.
The university contributed $5.6 billion to the national economy through vendor contracts and subcontracts between fiscal year 2002 and fiscal year 2019, $1.8 billion of which was spent in Michigan, according to the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science.
“When our world needs knowledge and understanding most, University of Michigan faculty members always rise to the challenge,” says Mark Schlissel, president. “I am very proud to be part of a community of scholars who embrace our university’s commitment to serve the public good through research.”